Texas lawmakers have filed six bills that target transgender students’ sports participation — and two of those bills would affect colleges and university sports in addition to K-12.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said it will only hold college championships in states where transgender student-athletes can participate without discrimination. The Monday warning sets the stage for a political fight with multiple states, including Texas, that are considering bills in their legislatures that would require students to play sports with only teammates who align with their biological sex.
“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the NCAA statement said. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”
Texas lawmakers have filed six bills that target transgender students’ sports participation — but only two of those bills would affect colleges and university sports in addition to K-12. While most of the proposals have not yet received a hearing, one bill, which was named a Senate priority, recently advanced out of a Senate State Affairs Committee to the full chamber for a vote. It would require the University Interscholastic League, which runs K-12 sports, to amend its rules to only let students play sports with students who match their biological sex as determined at birth or on their birth certificate. If passed, it would go in effect Sept. 1.
Reps. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, and Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, who authored the two bills affecting college and university student athletes, were not immediately available for comment. Their bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings.
Lawmakers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed bills that would bar transgender girls from participating in women’s sports. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 30 states are considering similar bills that would limit transgender students sports participation.
Texas lawmakers are also considering a bill that would classify providing children with puberty suppression drugs or performing gender reassignment surgery as child abuse. Another bill would revoke a doctor’s medical license if they perform a sex reassignment surgery for the purpose of gender reassignment to people under 18 years old or prescribe “puberty blockers.” Puberty blockers are reversible drugs often used by a transgender child who wants to delay puberty, including changes such as starting a period or deepening voice. The bill would also prohibit gender-confirming surgeries and hormone therapies. The Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony on both bills Monday, but took no action on the legislation.
The recent NCAA women’s basketball tournament was held in Texas. Multiple games in the 2022 NCAA men’s March Madness tournament are already scheduled to be played in Fort Worth and San Antonio.
During previous legislative sessions, Texas Republicans, like those in other states, unsuccessfully pursued so-called “bathroom bills” that would prevent transgender people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Business leaders at the time came forward with their opposition to the anti-transgender legislation —a trend that is re-emerging this session.
The NCAA’s statement comes as corporations are vocalizing their opposition to other conservative efforts, including proposed changes to Texas voting laws. Multiple Texas based companies, including Dell and American Airlines, spoke out against the proposed law earlier this month.
LGBTQ advocates said conservatives across the country are latching onto issues related to athletics and health care as the latest way to spread fear about transgender children using inaccurate information, despite opposition from medical and athletic associations.
Equality Texas held a press conference outside the Capitol building Monday afternoon, where transgender Texans and parents of transgender children spoke about their efforts to stop the passage of anti-trans legislation.
From Texas Tribune